January 19, 2017

Hollar Product Reviews

Hollar.com seems to have dollar store like stuff, but some are overstocks, etc, so they may cost a dollar or two, but be worth more/better quality.  For instance when I ordered they had Gund and pro team branded stuffed "friends" for $1-$2.  They have limited number of some of the items, some things I bought are already sold out, but I’ll review them all, anyhow. I choose ordered from them as Swagbucks had a special with bonus points for ordering form them, so it only cost me a net of $2 (so, kinda like getting everything 80% off, so $0.40 or $0.20 a piece).  You have to order at least $10, free shipping on first order, and any order over $25.  I think if you sign up through this link (https://www.hollar.com/share/ywml52xj) we'll both get $2 credit at Hollar.  If anyone wants to do that, I'll save my credits to use toward shoebox items myself.  Or, if you're on Swagbucks, check out if they have a bonus offer still going.

Ty MLB Beanie Ballz-Cleveland Indians it was $2.   So cute!  It’s kinda a cross between a ball and a stuffed “friend”.  It even had “beans” in the bottom so it always rolls upright.  They still have some from other MLB/NHL/NFL teams: https://www.hollar.com/products?utf8=%E2%9C%93&keywords=ballz

NFL Browns Plush Creature Clip was $1.  My Dad is doing a 10-14 boy box with a Cleveland Browns theme so this was PERFECT.  It’s nice for the stuffed “animal”, on theme and kinda goofy, great for a boy.  Big enough, but won’t take up too much room.   https://www.hollar.com/products/nfl-browns-plush-creature-clip

One-Subject Spiral Notebook – Paisley was $1.  I know $1 isn’t the best price for a notebook, but I’ve always liked paisley, and one of my goals for this year is  to “wowify” as many items as possible I got it.  The paper is a little thing, but fine.   https://www.hollar.com/products/spiral-notebook-green-paisley

Colgate Classic Toothbrushes – 2 Count.  Seem like nice quality.  I want to try to get as high of quality toothbrush as possible so they’ll last as long as possible.  This seemed like a decent price/item to use that for, it has a number of color combos to choose from.  https://www.hollar.com/products/colgate-classic-toothbrushes-2-count 

Happy Packing!

January 17, 2017

January item of the month for OCC

Samaritan's Purse has suggested items of the month for packing Operation Christmas Child, and for January that is Hats, gloves and scarves.

Now, many people are concerned about sending these items as they aren't sure if their boxes will be going to a country that seems cold to us like the Ukraine, or one that seems hot to us like Uganda.  There's a couple things to keep in mind about this:

  1. There are times of year in most countries that feel cold to those who live there,  We knew people who were missionaries in Chad, Africa, and the nationals sometimes got cold/sick in the "winter" season.
  2. I remember a story my dad tells about an exchange student who was visiting Ohio in summer from the Caribbean.  They were at a church softball game, the Ohioans were all very hot, while he was wearing a jacket, so "cold" is somewhat relative.
  3. These items can have various uses-a scarf can be decorative.  A hat can protect from the sun.  Gloves can be uses as work gloves or oven mitts.
If you'd like to include these items in your box(es) you can look in stores (they may soon be discounted), or you can craft your own, here are some tutorials my mom has written over the years for these type of items:

Happy Packing!

Photos courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

January 14, 2017

Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 1/15/2017

I've really missed out on the after-Christmas clearances this year due to all the health issues in our family at the moment, so I'm thankful for some good deals I've gotten online.  This week's supplies came from Hollar.  I ordered from them as Swagbucks had a special with bonus points for ordering form them, so it only cost me a net of $2.  You have to order at least $10, free shipping on first order, and any order over $25.  I think if you sign up through this link (https://www.hollar.com/share/ywml52xj) we'll both get $2 credit at Hollar.  If anyone wants to do that, I'll save my credits to use toward shoebox items myself.  Or, if you're on Swagbucks, check out if they have a bonus offer still going.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $10

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0

Refunds/rewards earned for shopping: $8

Added to stockpile:
  • 2 stuffed friends
  • 1 notebook
  • 12 toothbrushes

Happy Packing!

January 12, 2017

KIPP Brothers/Toys Product Reviews

I have been doing reviews on the Simply Shoeboxes Facebook page of some products  I've bought online to help people know what they're getting before they order, and thought I'd try to start doing blog posts of them, for those who may not be on Facebook.

We had ordered from Kipp Brothers years ago when packing shoeboxes from a VBS offering at our church, and were happy with the items.  Now, like a decade later I looked them up online.  They have free shipping at $250.  I watched their Facebook page for a while, until I saw free shipping deal on $100 (+10% off, which was more manageable for my budget.  It has some items just by a dozen, but many come by 50 or a Gross (a dozen, dozens = 144). 

Metal Stone Rings $16.95 for 36, so $0.47 a piece.  I really enjoyed having a ring or two like this as a child, so when I saw them I decided to send them in my 10-14 girl boxes.  They say they are “child size”  but even seem a little large for my fingers (which are admittedly small), but they are adjustable, so should still work fine!   http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/metal-stone-rings/

Tote Bags $4.95 for a  dozen, so $0.41 per bag.  These are 1 foot by 1 foot made out of fused fabric like reusable shopping bags http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/tote-bags/?attribute_pa_color=blue


Plastic Dinosaurs $9.95  for 144, so $0.07 per figure.  These are sturdy, colorful little dinosaurs.  Not all may stand up really well, but since they’re to play with and may be used on dirt, were I think they’d stand better than the counter I tried them on.  There are 6 designs and 2 colors (not always evenly mixed).  http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/plastic-dinosaurs/ 


Train Engine Whistles $12.95 for 144 or $0.09 per whistle.  These are very bright and colorful.  The plastic is a little thin, but I think it will hold up okay, when you blow hard it doesn’t do real well, making a sound, but once you realize/get the hang of doing it not 100% pressure you can really make it sound like a train whistle!!!!   It also has a loop/hole, so it can be strung on a string if desired.  http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/train-engine-whistles/


Realistic Turtles Assortment $9.95 for 48, so $0.21 per turtle.   These are 2″, and very bright and colorful!  There are 5 designs, all painted with colors/patters.  I’m really happy with these!!  http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/realistic-turtles-assortment/


Hoppin Froggy Friends $3.95 for 144, so $0.03 a piece.   After a couple tries I got the hang of these & they do jump well, 6 inches or more.  Their legs may eventually rip, but all in all, decently sturdy.   I thought I could tuck a few in the box randomly for them to play with…or include more, maybe with instructions and target to make a game.  http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/hoppin-froggy-friends/

Colorful Whistles 2.95 / Dozen so $0.25 each.  These are nice and VERY loud!  I was pleasantly surprised that they had wooden beads in them.  Very colorful!  http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/colorful-whistles/

Stencil Rulers $9.95 /144 piece(s) These were smaller than I pictured (although the size advertised, I just hadn’t thought it through), but they are very sturdy (although stiff, so could be snapped) and seem to be good quality.  They don’t have metric, only inches for measuring.  But for the price, I think it’s a fun little extra, or an affordable way to add them to boxes the budget doesn’t normally allow for it.   http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/stencil-rulers/


Brass Reeds Harmonicas  $16.95 for 6 so $2.83 each.       These were a splurge.  I thought it’d be fun to add to some boxes , almost as a WOW item.  Not sure about their quality, I’m not a harmonica person myself, but they seem nice and have a cute little case.  They’re described as “5″ metal and plastic with 32 brass reeds. http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/brass-reeds-harmonicas/

Wooden Yo-Yos $9.95 for a dozen so $0.83 per Yo-Yo.  The string on these are thick, and about a yard long.  A little shorter than normal it felt to me, but for a child would probably be great.  They seem pretty sturdy, the string is glued in with the dowel rod connecting the side, so it makes it easier to re-wind the string on if you fail to bring it up.  http://www.kippbrothers.com/product/wooden-yo-yos/

Happy Packing!

January 8, 2017

OCC shoebox for 10-14 boy - 2016

Here's a shoebox my dad packed for a 10-14 boy this year.    This shoebox 394 inches cubed, for comparison, a GO box is 306 inches cubed, so it's pretty close in size.   Here's one of the 10-14 boy shoeboxes he packed in 2015.  

If you'd like ideas for other ages be sure to check out my posts on boxes from this year for: Girl 2-4 years, Boy 2-4 years, Girl 5-9 years,  Boy 5-9 years, Girl 10-14 years, & Boy 10-14 years (links to come as I write the posts! 😊).

NOTE:  Different countries have different restrictions on what can be packed in a shoebox due to customs, and this is the last year for candy in the USA.  Be sure to check the guidelines from your national organization before packing!

What went into the shoebox gift:

  • Hygiene Supplies:
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothbrush case
    • Ivory soap (bagged)
    • Soap case (snack container)
    • Golf towel
    • Comb 
  • School Supplies:
      • Pencils
        • 5-regular
        • 2-decorative 
        • 1-mechanical
      • Pens
        • 2-blue
        • 2-black
        • 1-red
      • Pencil Sharpener
      • Eraser 
      • Compass & Protractor set
      • Ruler
      • Desk plate with geography & math info
      • Lined notebook
    • Art Supplies:
      • Colored pencils
      • Plain pad of paper
      • Scissors
      • Practical items: 
        • Fishing kit & instructions (printed from here & here)
        • Tote bag
        • Flashlight with extra batteries
        • Work gloves
      • To wear:
        • Shirt
        • Socks
      • Toys 
        • To play noisily or others
          • Ball
          • Whistle
          • Balsa wood flyer
          • Ballons
          • Marbles
        • To play with quietly alone
          • Mini kaleidoscope
          • Wooden peg game
        • To "love"
          • Stuffed bull
      • Candy ( bagged & in original wrapping) 
      • Personal correspondence (not pictured)
        • Family photo
        • Letter  

      And here's how it was packed:

      January 7, 2017

      Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 1/7/2017

      I decided maybe I should start back on my weekly blog post called "Shoebox Stockpile Saturday" of what I've added to my stockpile lately via purchases, crafting, donations, etc.

      I got my order from KIPP Brothers this week.  So exciting!  I now have enough of some of these items for a few years!  Mainly fun little bonuses items.  I hope to post a review of the different items I got in an album on my Simply Shoeboxes Facebook page soon.

      I also stopped by Dollar General, and checked out the 70% off Christmas, but all I got was this door hanger, I thought it'd be fun for a child to shake/play with.

      Spent from shoebox packing budget: $91.63

      Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0

      Added to stockpile:
      • 1 jingle bell door hanger
      • 6 Harmonicas
      • 12 Wooden Yo-Yos
      • 12 Tote bags
      • 24 Whistles
      • 36 Metal stone Rings
      • 48 Turtle models 
      • 144 Mini dinosaurs
      • 144 Train Whistles
      • 144 Hoppy Frogs
      • 144 Stencil Rulers

      Happy Packing!
      Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoe Boxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.